OneSwitch was started in 2002, after 8-years work at Thurrock Care Special Care Day Centre for Severely Disabled Adults.
The plan with OneSwitch was to share knowledge and inventions from that time and hopefully attract like minded people. You can glimpse some of this in the 2000 edition of CAN.
Something that worked well in giving people some control, who typically had very little, were accessibility switches.
Accessibility switches are often simple on/off push buttons, but can come in many forms such as sound switches, movement switches, pressure mats, pillow switches and so on. They tend to connect to adapted equipment via round 3.5mm sockets.
This method of giving people control where conventional controls are too difficult dates back to the 1960s. At Thurrock Care we used the technology available with adapted games machines, electronic dice, water pistols, remote control toys and so on.
Sometimes we used older technology, such as a BBC Micro to enable people to roll dice and to pick lottery numbers. Sometimes the latest as with the 1995 Playstation to stop/start music CDs with a light show and play games in a team.
Without the assistive technology of a suitable accessible interface, these things would freqently be impossible for some disabled people. With the right way in, it's no longer a problem and people are no longer disabled in that respect.
When enabling people to use this equipment in the past, I have wondered if they even understand the link between pressing the switch, and the effect it causes. Sometimes there is value simply in trying, and in luck. If a person happily presses a switch to roll a dice in a group game, even if they do not grasp the concept, it is their luck that provides a result, and no one elses. This has value.
The most important thing this web-site may achieve is to promote the inclusion of some of the most excluded people in society today. This of course needs the co-operation of families, friends, professionals and the public.
The terms for describing disability change around the world and generations. I like the thinking that a person is disabled by their environment rather than their condition. I also believe that there should be greater celebration of difference in life... it makes the world a much better place to be in.
From 2002 to date, OneSwitch has supported SpecialEffect, IGDA GASIG, AbleGamers, the ACE Centre, the BBC, Microsoft, Sony, Game Accessibility Guidelines, GAconf, Taming Gaming, and many other efforts to make the world of leisure a more equal place.
OneSwitch today still focusses on leisure ideas and solutions for all switch users, and also supporting game accessibility solutions in general. There's still a long way to go.
Below is a GAconf 2023 video I recorded on my friend Colin McDonnell. It includes a section on how OneSwitch.org.uk came about from 3 and a half minutes in.